I am learning French to keep my mind active and to try to understand the French news on the TV. I am not quite there yet as the news readers speak too fast for my brain to absorb. I also enjoy coming to VLLC because of the people and the atmosphere. The Tutors are fun and help me to practice and improve. I also appreciate the parking space for the disabled and the coffee is not bad either.
Learning French gave me an international opportunity.
Travelling and working overseas is something that many Australians plan to do during their lifetime. However, few realise just how much easier their journey could be with no language barrier to overcome. Sydney dancer, Kirsty, is an example of an ambitious young Australian who learned a second language through the Vocational Language Learning Centre before heading overseas.
Kirsty equipped herself with a self assured fluency in French to back up her dancing talents before travelling to Paris for auditions with a ballet company in Bordeaux, France. "The positive and friendly atmosphere at VLLC helped me learn the language quickly and have fun doing it" she said. "They helped build my confidence and to absorb the French culture while learning the language. The VLLC fast track learning method was developed in Adelaide and is now considered one of the most effective in the world. It is based on neuro-linguistics and the ability of the subconscious mind to absorb a language in a relaxed atmosphere. "I have set myself up for an international career." Kirsty says.
April is Thai month at VLLC! You might wonder, why April? The answer is that April is the month of Songkran festival, which is the Thai New Year festival. The festival usually starts on 13rd of April every year. This usually continues for a week (or more!) depending on where you are; the middle parts of Thailand tend to finish later on around the 25th.
Many people know of Songkran as a water festival, where people come out of their homes to have water fights on the streets. We use containers (e.g. a garbage can and a bowl), to hurl water at people. This helps us to stay cool in the middle of April, when the weather is hottest, and most humid. Water fights also provide a good opportunity for family members to have fun as a family. When I was a child, I remember sitting and waiting for my cousins to arrive on the first day of Songkran, and wishing Songkran could last forever! Those were the days…
There is another aspect, a spiritual aspect, to the Songkran festival. The Thai people are mostly Buddhists, and they usually take this opportunity to make merit (do good deeds) at their local Wat (temple) in the early morning on the first day of Songkran. We believe in karma, and that making merit at the beginning of the year will bring luck and happiness. After we finish at the temple, we return home to be with our family, especially our elders. Then, traditionally, they bless us, and splash a Thai perfume on us, as a symbol of good fortune. After that, it is time to enjoy food, drink, and especially water fights, in order to celebrate the rest of Songkran; the best holiday in Thailand.
This is going to be the third consecutive Songkran that I will miss. If you have a chance to visit Thailand, please consider joining in and getting wet during Songkran. You will have fun, learn about Thai culture, make many friends, and bring back many fun memories. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Thai month at VLLC always reminds me of the good times I had in Thailand in Songkran month.
Barramee, VLLC Thai Tutor.
My name is Yoko and I am one of the Japanese tutors in Melbourne. I have worked with VLLC for over 10 years now. I didn’t realise that time has passed so quickly!
My motivation to teach Japanese is simple, yet inspiring. Japanese is a beautiful language created on an isolated island with a unique history. I enjoy sharing the joy of communication in my mother tongue with my students, while being able to respect and understand each other’s culture.
I was born in Japan and lived there for the first 35 years of my life. Living in Tokyo, Saitama, Tohoku area was absolutely mesmerizing. Japan is a rather small country, but every area has various scenery and custom. When I think of Japan, I think of temples that are over a thousand years old or shrines behind skyscrapers. What also comes to my mind is the “Kawaii”. The traditional, cute goods based on Japan’s purifying, minimizing method. Also old and new culture coexist peacefully which brings joy to my heart.
My absolute favourite time of the year is the “Hanami” (Flower Viewing). It’s when the cherry blossoms open up all over the country. People are delighted by “Sakura”, which magnifies the end of a cold, dark winter. Every year, special weather forecasts for “Sakura” excite people.
Sushi, being one of the most famous Japanese foods abroad, is also one of my favourites. “Omusubi” are yummy rice balls and a handy food in Japan. Simple “ume” (plum) “omusubi” are my absolute favourite. I also love “sansei” (edible wild plants), which are only available in a particular season.
Japan has a huge population of 130 million people in such a small country. Yet it is rather clean and organized everywhere. Even crowded stations in Tokyo seem so clean and quiet. Not always, but sometimes I miss Japanese public space’s comfortableness. It seems as if people are always prepared to welcome visitors.
Our Japanese Tutor, Kiyo, received this fantastic card from a VLLC student last year, Nicky Bancroft who has completed her Certificate IV in Foreign Language Studies, which she did to enhance her career. Well done Nicky!
My name is Katina, and I have been learning Greek at VLLC for nearly a year! I wanted to learn Greek, as my Father is Greek, and I thought it would be amazing to have conversations with all my cousins and my Grandparents. My main motivation is learning new words and being finally able to have a lovely conversation with my Grandmother.
I try to visit Greece every 2 years to visit my family, and maybe a nice swim or two! When I am in Greece I love to go swimming and eat lots of souvlaki. I practice Greek with my parents every Sunday over a cup of coffee and some biscuits. Learning Greek is Amazing, it's such a lovely language.
South America is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO awesome! Everyone should spend some time exploring this part of the world. Here you will find the remains of ancient civilisations, amazing wildlife, friendly people, tasty food and beautiful landscapes and sceneries including mountains, rainforests, coasts, deserts, lakes and plains. I spent 7 weeks travelling with my friend through Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. There were so many interesting places that we visited but the highlights for me were the Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, the Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, the museum and city at the Middle of the World (La Mitad del Mundo) and Cartagena. During my personal experience and speaking with other travellers it was obvious that being able to speak some Spanish was very useful, particularly when travelling on a tight budget as many hostel owners don’t speak much, if any, English. It also made getting around in taxis, asking for directions, enquiring about costs of tours and other things and ordering food easier (especially since I am vegetarian). Speaking Spanish made the trip more enjoyable and I really felt that I had left the shores of Australia and landed in a magical, foreign place. Thank you to VLLC for helping me learn Spanish for this trip. Please share my experience and photos on your website as I hope this will inspire others to visit this amazing and interesting continent. Now time to finish sorting through my photos and start planning my South America Part 2 adventures.
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru. A 4 day hike starting from Cuzco. .
Swimming in the Amazon River, Iquitos, Peru whilst watching dolphins swim in the river nearby. Thankfully there were no piranhas out here in the middle of the river.
Doing a cruise in the Galapagos Islands will allow you to visit the uninhabited islands and see lots of these cute little fellas close up as well as many other animals including iguanas, giant sea turtles, giant tortoises and many species of birds. You can even go snorkelling with giant sea turtles, rays, sea lions and fish. If you are lucky you might even see a shy white-tipped reef shark.
Stand up paddle boarding at Isla Grande, Cartagena, Colombia. You will never complain of the water being too cold here.
I began part-time language studies with VLLC at the end of January 2014. In May, I decided to move my plans forward by 6 months and audition in January 2015. I commenced full-time German studies in June and completed my Certificate III in Foreign Language Studies assessments in early December, just in time for my departure to Germany on December 30th. I had applied to 5 music academies in Germany and my first audition was at my first preference university; the Detmold HfM (see picture above). What only needs to be said is that the audition process was daunting and conducted only in German. There were many applicants who did not pass the language test and were given 3 months to immerse themselves in German, and then resit the test with the result of being "de-matriculated" if they did not pass the second time. For my second audition, I was billeted in Berlin. A plaque located on the wall outside the apartment block in which I was staying noted that it had been Albert Einstein's residence in 1914, during his composition of the 'Theory of Relativity'. At this time I was notified of my acceptance into Detmold HfM and my success of passing all associated entrance examinations. I didn't continue with any other auditions because my dreams had come true and I made my way back to Detmold.
Having been a musician for many years, I know the importance of having elite tutors. Without finding a quality piano teacher and a certified language provider I wouldn't be a student (for the next 4 years) at the Detmold Hochschule für Musik. Joanne, Iris, Marion, Mali and all associated staff at the VLLC seriously understood the importance of my goal, tailored my programme and made the lessons enjoyable and pertinent. They are interested in my progress and continue to keep in touch. One of my tutors, Iris (who I had only ever met online) has since visited me in Detmold and it was my first contact with someone from home since I left in December. It was like a family member had come a calling.
I would highly recommend VLLC to anyone who wants to learn another language.
I began learning Russian with VLLC last year. My family was a big part of my decision to learn - It’s nice to see the smile my babooshka gets when I speak with her in her first language! I am also motivated to get to a fluency which will allow me to read and translate an old family journal, which we haven’t been able to understand because it is written in Russian! I am almost there - I practice with my family, my partner… even with people who don’t understand; I will say something in Russian then repeat it in English – so I get to practice saying all kinds of things every day! One language isn’t always enough – Russian is often more emotive than English, and speaking to someone in their own language allows you to get a lot more out of the conversation.
I have been sorting through some old files and I came across this poem that one of our past students wrote about her experience with VLLC. This was before VLLC online was available and students came to the centre to do their lessons. I thought I would share it... Michele
Here are some stories about VLLC' students and why they are learning a language